Review Summary: Alchemist: A Unique Brand of Sci-Fi Metal3 of 3 thought this review was well written
Alchemist is a 4 piece metal act from the Australian Capital Territory.
Right from the start of Austral Alien the listener is thrust into First Contact. A fast paced and densely layered sound that sets the scene for the 47 minutes of spacey progressive metal to come.
The Guitar work between Adam Agius & Roy Torkington is very unique and quite impressive throughout the whole album. The songs Solarburn, Alpha Capella Nova Vega and Epsilon are fantastic examples of the intricate riffs and melodies this partnership creates throughout Alchemists Discography.
Adam’s vocals are just one of those things that finally click after however many listens. They can be harsh at times but always seem to fade seamlessly back into the wall of sound from which they blasted through. His style can be described as a smooth roar/yell. The Vocal harmonies he sings are very interesting and fit perfectly with the music.
Adam Also occasionally lays down a synth section. It creates Spaced out atmospheres from which Roy and Rodney Holder lay down some really cool and danceable rhythms & moods.
Bass riffs, like the one near the end of Alpha Capella Nova Vega are placed perfectly in the guitar pauses, creating a funky vibe in the overall heaviness.
Older than the ancients is a groovy song. It shows how John Bray can lay down bass lines that provide the soil in which the two guitarists grow their leads. This song evolves to have a rather energetic ending with some powerful vocals.
Austral Alien is definitely a beast with many heads. Although the guitar tone is fairly constant, there is a whole lot of variety within its 11 tracks. Its lyrics are inspired by man’s impact on the Australian environment and it’s inhabitants.
I.e. “nature on a leash” and making “first contact”
Nature on a leash & Speed of life show how Rodney Holders has his own style when it comes to drumming and can produce some complex and speedy patterns when the music calls for it. Without having very many fills, his rhythms evolve slowly throughout each song and at times are the driving force of the sound.
Epsilon is my favorite song off this album. Aside from the lovely sounds coming from the guitars and the solid drumming, the use of robotic styled vocals add serenity and a sense of beauty to the music.
Alchemist is a great band who have musically created a heavy sound very much their own.